You’d think that it would be straightforward getting in contact with people in college, but it may be more complex than you’d think. UC Berkeley is a hub of tech entrepreneurship, and along with that comes many new ways to get connected. While text messaging is often complicated by which kind of phone you’re using, alternative social media apps have come along to save the day. Since coming to Cal, I’ve been introduced to numerous messaging and teamwork apps, some which I like a lot and some which aren’t as user friendly. You’ll find that getting in touch with other students is important, whether it be for classes or clubs, especially during learning in the virtual realm. So here’s my guide to some of the apps you may find yourself using at Cal.
Facebook and Facebook Messenger
Facebook is definitely a huge go-to for all things communication, with features like “Groups” where people can join pages for specific kinds of content. One of Cal’s internet landmarks is definitely “UC Berkeley Memes for Edgy Teens” along with its sister pages “Overheard at UC Berkeley” and “Confessions from UC Berkeley”. These pages provide fun, relatable content for students to create and share, and I often tag my friends or get tagged on witty posts. Facebook’s messaging platform, Facebook Messenger or just Messenger for short, in my opinion, is one of the most commonly used forms of communication for students. Anyone can make a group, add members (found conveniently through their Facebook name), send polls, and respond and react to messages. Messenger’s notification system is just as good as a plain old text message, making for fast realtime conversations.
One of my personal favorites, Slack is a relatively new communication platform started in 2013 that creates an “virtual headquarters” for your group or organization. Slack provides you with one main “slack” with “channels” or subgroups where you can chat about specific topics or events happening. Along with general messaging, slack also has features for personal or group messaging that you can make. One nice feature of slack is the option to set yourself as active or away so that your team members and friends can see your availability. Some fun additions to slack are the ability to add custom color themes and customize emojis for responding to messages, which gives a personal feel to the workspace.
GroupMe, LoopChat, and WhatsApp
GroupMe, LoopChat, and WhatsApp are three separate but similar group messaging applications that I personally don’t use as often, but are nonetheless popular among other Berkeley students. All of these platforms are standard for group messaging, with similar features to Messenger (WhatsApp is also a subprogram of Facebook, allowing for use of international phone numbers) and are made to accommodate many members, so they’re most commonly used for things like Golden Bear Orientation and class specific group chats.
Every different app has its advantages and disadvantages, so hopefully my run through gave you a better insight on what messaging is like for Golden Bears!